Summer Sunday at San Pedro

Cala de San Pedro this morning

Cala de San Pedro this morning

Sunday is the busiest day for the beaches of the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata when holiday makers are supplemented by day visitors from the towns inland. San Pedro is a good option for avoiding the crowds.
Keeping fit on the beach

Keeping fit on the beach

Access to this idyllic cove is by boat or an hour long walk in the heat over the cliffs from Las Negras and, although the water taxis bought visitors from Las Negras and yachts moored in the bay, we encountered very few walkers when we set out this morning.
At the water's edge, San Pedro

At the water’s edge, San Pedro

The sea was calm and clear, perfect for swimming and the best conditions so far this year.
Sunshades

Sunshades

We think these photos capture the atmosphere.

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Izzy and Ellie on holiday

Izzy in the garden

Izzy in the garden

Our granddaughters, Isabelle (10) and Eloise (8), have just returned to England after a week’s holiday with us in Las Negras.
Ellie in the garden

Ellie in the garden

Here they are in the garden.
Izzy and Ellie on Las Negras beach in the morning

Izzy and Ellie on Las Negras beach in the morning

When you are their ages the main attraction of Las Negras is the beach and sea. In the morning.
Las Negras beach in the afternoon

Las Negras beach in the afternoon

In the afternoon.
Las Negras beach in the evening

Las Negras beach in the evening

In the evening ….
Las Negras at night

Las Negras at night

…. and at night.

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Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados

Vivir es Fácil

Vivir es Fácil

This charming film which won six Goyas last year has just been released on DVD. Vivir es Fácil was filmed in Almeria, mostly around the old fishermen’s and salt worker’s cottages close to La Iglesia de las Salinas near the Faro de Cabo de Gata.

La Iglesia de Las Salinas

La Iglesia de Las Salinas

The story, set in 1966, is about a Spanish schoolteacher who uses the lyrics of Beatles songs to teach his students English. When he hears that John Lennon is filming in Almeria he sets off on a mission to meet him and on his way picks up two companions. A boy of 16 and a young woman of 21. We will not divulge more but the filming and recreation of the period is excellent.

Cottages by the salt flats

Cottages by the salt flats

The cottages above were the hotel rooms where they stayed.

The bar in the film

The bar in the film

This old building was used as the local bar. I took these photos this morning.

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Hats at La Paloma

A study in elegance

A study in elegance

Last week we posted a blog about the end-of-craft-course evening at Cortijo La Paloma, Las Negras, but we arrived a little late and missed the parade of hats which the guests had made. During the last week, a fresh group of holiday-makers from Holland stayed here and yesterday evening we arrived in time to see the hats.
Elena with red hat and a lovely frock

Elena with red hat and a lovely frock

Some of the women wore different outfits to go with each hat they had made. Above is Helena who chose this lovely dress to go with her red hat.
Petra on the catwalk

Petra on the catwalk

Petra was looking quite jolly in her creation.
Girls having fun

Girls having fun

The women evidently enjoyed the catwalk.
The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

There was a lone male who sported his home-made sombrero.
Matching colors

Matching colors

This elegant lady knew how to show off her exquisite purple hat.
Group photo

Group photo

Finally they paraded as a group.
Talking about sculpture

Talking about sculpture

Afterwards the guests showed off the sculptures which they had been working on all week.
Level Eye

Level Eye

After food and wine, we were entertained by the local blues duo, Jan and Yvette “Level Eye”. Although they live here, they are also from Holland. A blurred photo in the dark without flash but it recreates the mood.
http://jump4art.com http://cortijolapaloma.net

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Arts and Crafts at Cortijo La Paloma

Gardens and pool of Cortijo La Paloma on Friday morning

Gardens and pool of Cortijo La Paloma on Friday morning

Cortijo La Paloma is a large house in an idyllic location at the end of Las Negras beach. It is set in beautiful gardens with a large swimming pool and attractive apartments in a rustic style which are let for holidays. This time of year, courses in hat making, abstract painting and sculpture are held here. The visitors are mainly from Holland. We passed by on Friday morning and were invited to attend a social evening last night when the “students” would display and talk about their work before wining and dining in the gardens.
Helena making her hat

Helena making her hat

We arrived a little late and just missed the presentation of the hats that had been made. Above, though, is a photo taken on Friday morning of Helena making her hat.
Talking about art

Talking about art

Next on the agenda was a display of the paintings.
Talking about art

Talking about art

Each artist talked about their work which was inspired by the light and colors of Las Negras and the textures and shapes of material on the beach outside the Cortijo.
Talking about art

Talking about art

Much of this was incorporated into collages.
Talking about sculpture

Talking about sculpture

Then it was the turn of the sculptors who each talked about the piece of stone they were working on.
Talking about sculpture

Talking about sculpture

Much of this was work in progress as they had yet to finish their pieces.
Sculptors on the beach

Sculptors on the beach

Above is a photo of a couple of the sculptors working on the beach on Friday morning.
Keeping the fire going

Keeping the fire going

Afterwards, we all wined and dined at a long table in the gardens and a fire was lit to take the chill off the evening. This amused the children who were intent on keeping it going ….
A fireside chat

A fireside chat

…. while the adults sat around enjoying good wine and conversation.
Sculptor at work

Sculptor at work

Enquiries re. Cortijo La Paloma – http://cortijolapaloma.net http://jump4art.com

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Art and Gardens in Madrid

Roses in the garden of Museo Sorolla

Roses in the garden of Museo Sorolla

We have just returned from a quick trip to Madrid. The main purpose of our visit was to look around the famous art galleries of the city. Madrid’s galleries house the finest collections of art in the world. As an antidote to viewing all the art, we found the City’s gardens very relaxing. On our first evening, we visited the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The permanent collection comprises mainly works by 19th and early 20th century artists and includes many famous impressionist and expressionist paintings. At the moment there is also a special exhibition of paintings by Cezanne.
Pond and fountain in the garden of Museo Sorolla

Pond and fountain in the garden of Museo Sorolla

Early the next morning we visited the Museo Sorolla. This was the house where the famous Valencian impressionist, Joaquín Sorolla, lived. Much of the house, including his studio, has been preserved and the building houses a great collection of his paintings. Around the house are the most beautiful, shady gardens. To the front are elegant standard roses, some of which are a lovely, dusky pink that are actually featured in his paintings, and around the side is a pond and fountain.
Peonies in the Real Jardín Botánico

Peonies in the Real Jardín Botánico

We then moved on to the Prado. You need at least 4 hours to get around and view this magnificent collection of old masters which include famous Spanish works by Velázquez, El Greco and Goya as well as masterpieces by Raphael, Rubens, Bosch and many others. On loan from the the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, was a striking work, Virgin and Child with Angels, by Jean Fouquet, painted in 1452.
Roses in the Real Jardín Botánico

Roses in the Real Jardín Botánico

Next to the Prado are the Royal Botanical Gardens. A lovely place to relax after seeing all that art. The gardens display a big collection of named roses, irises and peonies.
Estanque, Parque del Retiro

Estanque, Parque del Retiro

The last art museum we visited was the Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, which is devoted to modern art. The permanent collection has many famous paintings by Picasso, Dali and Miro. Pride of place is given to Guernica but our favorite Picasso was ‘Mujer en Azul’ painted in 1901.
Palicio de Cristal, Parque de l Retiro

Palicio de Cristal, Parque de l Retiro

On our final morning we strolled around the Retiro Gardens, a 130 hectare park in the city centre. A large boating lake is overlooked by a statue of Alfonso X11 and the Palacio de Cristal is a lovely glass building in the centre. However, we found the most beautiful aspect of the gardens were its magnificent trees under which you can relax on benches and listen to the bird song.
Trees in the Parque del Retiro

Trees in the Parque del Retiro

We flew from Almeria to Madrid with Air Europa. You can get return tickets for under 50 euros. At the airport we bought a three day unlimited metro pass which not only provided us with cheap transfers from the airport to the city centre but proved a quick and efficient way of getting about the city. We stayed in an inexpensive hostal. The room was clean, had an en suite bathroom and WiFi, but it was pretty basic and noisy. Next time we would like to try the Ritz.
We have posted a few more photos on http://coloursofspain.wordpress.com.

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No boats to San Pedro

Burnt out boats

Burnt out boats

There was a disaster on the beach at Las Negras last week when three small boats were destroyed by fire. Two of the boats were water taxis to San Pedro. This photo was taken on Thursday morning.
Boats on Las Negras beach

Boats on Las Negras beach

We have enjoyed a beautiful weekend but visitors have not been able to get to San Pedro by boat. There are plenty of little fishing boats on the beach, as you can see from this photo taken on Sunday morning, but no water taxis.
San Pedro from the cliffs

San Pedro from the cliffs

Usually San Pedro is busy on a Sunday but we decided to walk there over the cliffs hoping it would be quiet, and it was.
Cala de San Pedro

Cala de San Pedro

As you can see from the photos, there were very few people on the beach. Maybe the hot weather discouraged people from walking there.
Cala de San Pedro

Cala de San Pedro

We took many photos and have posted some interesting ones on http://coloursofspain.wordpress.com

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